Lombardic Lettering at Chartres

Posted on 9 September 2005 in:

Sample of Lombardic Lettering from Chartres Cathedral, France
A few days ago, while I was still in France, I came back to Chartres Cathedral for the first time in over a decade. This time, I was looking for lettering. While I didn’t see much, there was a series of dazzling little pedestal inscriptions on the North Portal. Like captions in a book, these texts describe the sculptural scenes above them. I suspect that these letters were carved during the 1200s. Their style is similar to the all-caps lombardic alphabets that would develop in later centuries.

Close-Up of Above Image, 1

In this close-up of the article’s leading image, you can begin to see the differentiation between repeating letters. The right-most word in the above photograph is »C E D E R I S«. Note that each of the two E’s has a different form.

Close-Up of Above Image, 2

Two different T’s can be seen in the above image: one straight, the other round.

Lombardic Letters: ANNA

»A N N A«, the left-most word, has two different N’s cut into it.

Lettering on a Scroll

Medieval Lettering is often well fit into the overall image. Here, text wraps inside a scroll.

Lombardic Letters: DAVID

Many familiar stories can be seen across Chartres’s North Facade. Here is David…

Lombardic Letters: Goliath

…and Goliath.

Contemporary Graffiti at Chartres, just sad…

Satan, it appears, has visited the cathedral, too.

Garden below Chartres Cathedral, with the letter C
Behind the cathedral is a steep drop, east of which is a series of gardens. It seems that Chartres has a few crop circles, as well as medieval churches. This one is probably inspired by the labyrinth inside the cathedral. Great letter C, in any case.